Vols' 10 most pivotal moments at midway point

The Tennessee football season thus far has undoubtedly carried its share of ebbs and flows. InsideTennessee takes a look at 10 of the better moments Volunteers fans have experienced through the first six games.

The 119th edition of Tennessee football will be one Big Orange Country looks back on as what might have been.

The Volunteers are 3-3 midway through their schedule but in those losses, they held leads by a combined 41 points and they lost by a total of 12 points. However, it's a game of inches and teams must make their own breaks.

The team built confidence by coming from 21 points behind to defeat No. 19 Georiga 38-31 in Game 6. It's from that rally that a chunk of IT's top 10 most pivotal moments is made.

Here's a look:

Tennessee may or may not be where some of you expected halfway through, posting a 3-3 record overall and 1-2 mark in Southeastern Conference play. However, several Vols have made impactful plays. Don't be afraid to weigh in on IT's top 10.


1. Von Pearson's catch from his back on fourth-and-four.

It all had to start somewhere. Tennessee trailed No. 19 Georgia 24-3. Some fans screamed at Butch Jones, others to have Quinten Dormady replace Joshua Dobbs. Jones didn't hesitate in keeping the offense on the field. As Pearson rolled into the flat, his feet gave way but Dobbs' pass was already in flight. Pearson somehow snagged the pigskin to extend the drive that resulted in Tennessee's first touchdown.


2. Josh Smith's 39-yard touchdown reception on fourth-and-eight against Georgia.

Can't rank Pearson's grab at No. 1 without having Smith's at No. 2. Dobbs didn't get pinpoint suddenly after hitting Pearson. In fact, he didn't come terribly close on two straight incompletions to Alex Ellis and Smith and to jump and spin to make this catch but players have to pick each other up. Dobbs got better as the game went on.


3. Trevor Daniel's 56-yard punt goes out at the Georgia 1-yard line with 1:48 to play.

The Dickson native came up big time with one of the most clutch punts in recent Tennessee football history. Nothing spells "Gulp!"more for an opponent needing to score than 99 yards to go.


4. Brian Randolph's pass breakup to seal the Georgia victory.

Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert had the right idea in going to Malcolm Mitchell with the game on the line and Vols cornerback Cameron Sutton fell down. Randolph had to come over and bat the ball away but assured his being able to wear the orange home to Marietta with pride in the future after seeing teammates falter his first four years on the roster.


5. Dobbs' 5-yard touchdown run to put Tennessee up for good on Georgia with 5:48 to play in the fourth quarter.

The junior banged off Bulldogs tacklers and arrived an the plane of the end zone with aggression, showing rare emotion by yelling once his cleats touched the checkerboard. The physical carry capped an eight-play, 78-yard drive that include five runs.


6. Dobbs' 58-yard touchdown reception on wide receiver pass from Jauan Jennings in first quarter at Florida.

The Vols needed some "splash" plays to get the juices flowing after not having won at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium since the turn of the century. Dobbs looked like he was shot out of a cannon and his teammates sealed off the corner like Sunshine did for Rev in Remember The Titans. Coordinator Mike DeBord pressed the right button on this one and tapped off a chunk of the "conservative" statue Tennessee fans consistently place into the yards of their coaches.


7. Todd Kelly Jr.'s interception in the first quarter versus Oklahoma.

The sophomore put a nail in the coffin of the Sooners' first series ever in Knoxville and got a crowd of 102,455 involved early. The subsequent Tennessee series resulted in a 19-yard field goal from Aaron Medley. It was Kelly's first of two picks of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.


8. Evan Berry's 96-yard kickoff return on the first play of the Arkansas game.

Berry got the Neyland Stadium crowd on its feet quickly by racing up the right sideline. Dobbs led the Vols down the field for a touchdown the next time they got the football. However, Tennessee didn't dance in the checkerboard the remaining 50 minutes, 57 seconds.


9. Jalen Hurd flatbacks Georgia cornerback Reggie Wilkerson.

The play didn't have a ton of meaning from a scoreboard standpoint, although it did set the Vols up for first-and-goal from the 4-yard line before Aaron Medley scored the Vols first points on a field goal in the opening quarter. Hurd trucked Wilkerson, setting an "Ooooohhhh!" through the soldout Neyland Stadium crowd.


10. Preston Williams catches 24-yard touchdown pass from fellow freshman quarterback Quinten Dormady for final score in 45-point beating of Western Carolina.

Williams caught a 25-yarder from Dobbs in the first quarter for his first collegiate score. Thus, the novelty of it from Williams' side didn't exist. The game was out of hand. Yet, the sheer Dormady-to-Williams connection had the looks of something that Vols fans may see quite often down the road. It may not happen until 2017. They may both be starters together for just one season on The Hill. Something tells us it was a glimpse into the bright future for Tennessee's passing game.


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